Cooking On A Budget: Pot Roast Dinner

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pot Roast Dinner

Seared Bottom Round Roast

 A Pot Roast dinner is an ideal fall and winter dish that definitely fits into the plan of cooking on a budget. There are a number of things that you can do with the left over meat. I like to use either Beef Bottom Round with a decent fat cap or a nice thick boneless Chuck Roast. Pot Roast dinner can be cooked in the oven, on the stove top or in a Crock Pot (slow cooker).

The keys to a great pot roast dinner are:

  1. Searing the meat (even if you put it in a crock pot for cooking while you are at work, I would sear it first). Searing the meat first gives it a nice crust and locks in moisture and flavor. Also it yields great tasty pan drippings for your sauce or gravy.
  2. Before searing, season all sides of the beef with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of your dutch oven or roasting pan and with medium to medium high heat, sear the beef on all sides.
  3. Next, add chunks of celery, onion and carrot to your roasting pan, dutch oven or crock pot. These will add lots of flavor to your gravy due to the natural juices they give out.
  4. Add in a good amount of liquid - use all beef broth or, use 1/2 broth and 1/2 water. I prefer mostly beef broth. To lend a slightly different flavor, add in some red wine (but only the kind you would drink). If you are doing the roast in the oven or on top of the stove you can start with liquid about a third of the way up the roasting pan or dutch oven. Check it from time to time for evaporation. For crock pot cookery you should follow the manufacturers recommendations, or your recipe booklet for the amount of liquid needed.
  5. Cover the roast and let it braise for a long period of time. The time it takes to braise and become tender depends on the size of the meat. For a 4 to 5 pound bottom round, for instance, it will take about 3 1/2 to 4 hours to become really tender when cooked in a conventional oven or on the stove top. If you are cooking it in a crock pot for all day cooking you can start it out on high and leave it on low. At the end of the work day it will be tender and juicy.
Generally when I make a pot roast dinner, I serve it with mashed potatoes, gravy and a side vegetable. I make sure that I make plenty of gravy and potatoes so I can use them in other cooking on a budget dinners. Also, I will purchase a larger roast than what can be consumed by my family at one sitting. Keep in mind that the longer cooking roasts, just like corned beef shrink in size.

Tonight I am making a pot roast dinner with a chuck roast. It will cook on the stove top, versus the oven.

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